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Education The Key to Future
Omar Hafeez

March 2002 - Pakistan’s spending in acquiring latest military gadgets and nuclear technology have greatly burdened its economy and widened its debt trap. Allocation of Defence funds in annual budget has witnessed a sharp increase in past few years. How long we will continue to empower our military at the expense of volatile economy, rising inflation and rampant corruption. The prevailing anarchy can only be rectified through the channel of education.

Today education is taken as investment for national welfare. Nations who have realized its significance in the past two decades have benefited from its application tremendously by bringing major reforms and changes in their prevalent system. So the best course of action will be to divert maximum budget allocation towards education.

These days ministry of science is consuming handsome funds on promoting Information Technology. But does it serve our purpose of rooting out illiteracy? With my perception the answer is negative. I am not negating the pivotal role of IT for our country but each and every individual that owns a Pakistani nationality should be armed with his basic right of education. No body can become an IT professionals overnight neither this facility is available to our remote areas Acquiring education is a step-by-step process. Basic education forms the initial stairs of this lengthy process.

Education at basic level can be categorized into two elementary developmental phases. Primary and Secondary. Primary education forms the fundamental block of education career. Whereas the latter phase of secondary education follows the former phase. These two indispensable phases lay together the foundation of professional education.

The current standard of primary and secondary education in our country is dismal. With rural areas constituting 68% of our population our major concern should be enlightening these villages and districts with the torch of education. There is a plethora of districts and villages in our country whose descendants are still wandering in the dark. How one can imagine of a computer being accessible to these backward vicinities where books are non-existent. Where schools are vacant. Where ghost schools are in abundance. Where schools exists either under trees or on papers. Where children are forced to toil as carpet weavers and kiln workers. Where feudalist regard education as a crime and threat to their social status.

The infrastructure of primary and secondary education in urban areas is despondent as well.Where non government schools are beyond reach of a poor man. Where most government schools are void of teaching staff. The teaching staff if available is not diligent. Buildings are in depleted conditions and lack basic necessities.

Most children are unable to reach or join the second phase of secondary education owing to financial constraints, lack of vision and family restrictions. Ensuring a smooth sailing of educational career of a student requires fanatical commitment on part of the government. There is an imperative need of lessening the burden of fees by providing scholarships to poor and needy students so that there is no hindrance in their education career. Opening the schools is not even half the job done but equipping the school with trained teacher and mustering the students and arranging the syllabus and related facilities is the only hallmark to proceed with the spreading of education in the masses. Creating awareness among the masses to acquire education and to know about its benefits can only strengthen our cause.

According to 1998 census urban and rural areas literacy rate stands at 65.2 percent and 26.9 percent respectively.The figures also indicated that only 2.520 million children were enrolled in schools out of a total population of 4.680 million.This underlines the need for expanding the bandwith of basic education in order to make the system effecient and productive.

With a below par literacy rate of 36% our realm lags far behind in the race for progress. Our education policy needs broader vision and radical changes that can only pave the way for our better tomorrow. Framing reforms aimed at financing educational needs. Growing number of schools. Maintaining a stern check on schools organizations. Proper implementation of curriculum. These are major ingredients, which can nourish our literacy rate. The education department also needs to upgrade the material of textbooks for both phases so that it is congruent with the present times.

As drastic problems require drastic measures. Concerted efforts on part of government and people are need of an hour to eradicate the menace of illiteracy intimidating our society with despair and darkness.

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